EDITORIAL - Get real in face of the impossible

(The Freeman) - January 13, 2016 - 9:00am

The Cebu City Environmental and Sanitation Enforcement Team has issued a warning against those who violate existing laws against smoking and the indiscriminate throwing of garbage during the Sinulog. If only Ceset issues similar warnings periodically during normal days. Unfortunately it does not, making people wonder where it is heading with the warning.

On normal days, it is already a tough job going after people who violate existing laws against smoking and the indiscriminate throwing of garbage. During the Sinulog, it is virtually impossible. Not that it is a sin for Ceset to be concerned about its job. On the contrary, it should be commended for being concerned. But it is one thing to be concerned, another to realistically do something about it.

Judging by the most conservative of estimates, the Sinulog is likely to draw people in their hundreds of thousands. Most will be gravitating around a parade route that is several kilometers long. But the many streets radiating out of the parade route will be full of people as well, people for whom the Sinulog means having a good time – partying, drinking, eating – and not merely watching the parade.

To put everything into context, it will be one entire metropolis erupting into boisterous merriment. There is no way to inject concepts of order such as those espoused by the Ceset into such a cauldron of unrestrained human spontaneity even if it truly has the opportunity to even try. Perhaps the best intentions drove Ceset to issue a warning against violators of smoking and sanitation laws. But maybe it should just have kept quiet.

It is not all the time that the best of intentions get to prevail over life's many challenges. Sometimes it is far better to be driven by common sense. There is no way hundreds of thousands of people, fired up by a sense of revelry, and by whatever else that may enter their bloodstreams or get sucked up into their lungs and brains, will heed some call for order by a largely unheard of entity, no matter how well-meaning that call will be.

Perhaps the Ceset simply needed to call attention to itself, and in so doing make it known it has a job to do. But making the Sinulog a model for cleanliness and environmental sanity is not one of them. There has never been any dispute about that and neither will there ever be. Even the most strident of complainers know when to complain and when not to.

Never in the history of the Sinulog has there been a serious and credible gripe about smoking and trash. And that is because most people never completely lose their sense of realism and balance. They know existing laws on these two issues can never be realistically and pragmatically imposed. Besides, the Sinulog is just one day in a year. After it is over, the city picks itself up and moves on. Everything goes back to normal. That is when Ceset should act out its concerns.

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